When passion and purpose align, magic happens. For entrepreneur Alison Griggs, this means applying her financial expertise to the cannabis space. After getting her Masters in Accounting in 2010, Alison started an affordable tax service catering towards artists and bands. Things quickly took off. In fact, she was able to work with some of the top artists in the industry. But as time went on, Alison began experiencing numerous health issues. For years she suffered in silence. Well, until she tried CBD that is. Today Alison credits cannabis for changing her life. Cannabidiol not only relieved her physical ailments like inflammation and sleep apnea but it also gave her a new career, lifelong friendships, and a fresh take on life. The more she immersed herself in the community - the more she realized the need for financial services was rampant. Cannabis businesses faced more financial hurdles than any other industry. The calling was clear. Alison launched 420 Financial Solutions to help cannabis companies stay on track, grow their business, and maintain compliance.
What inspired you to enter the cannabis industry?
Two things really inspired me to want to be more involved in the cannabis industry. The first was being lucky enough to work with and do taxes for Cannabis Tours and Puff Pass and Paint the last year that I lived in Denver. I saw how successful they were becoming, while educating people on cannabis, and that made me want to help more companies in the industry.
The second is that I went through some major health issues and they didn’t really start to get better until I discovered CBD. Being able to go to the dispensaries and get medicine opened me up to an entire new world of cannabis, which made me want to work with these companies even more. There are so many amazing people in the cannabis industry that are caring, compassionate people whose goals are to save lives by the use of cannabis in one form or another. It came naturally to want to help these amazing people out.
Tell us more about launching Note 4 Note Accounting
I started Note 4 Note Accounting after I received my masters in Accounting in 2010. My passion in life is music, so I wanted to start an affordable tax service catered towards artists and bands. It took off, and I have been working with some of the best and top artists in the industry since.
My bachelors degree in Communications has also helped me with the heavy customer service aspect of all of my companies. Starting an accounting business was one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but after all of the hard work, it was totally worth it, because it allowed me to start 420 Financial Solutions with a solid understanding of taxes and accounting.
What type of services do you offer cannabis businesses?
420 Financial Solutions offers all bookkeeping, tax and accounting services to any type of cannabis company, whether you are a sole proprietor or a Corporation. My goal is to keep you 100% compliant with all cannabis industry guidelines, while making sure all permits and licenses are up to date. I offer all services from paying Sales Tax, filing annual 1099’s, Cost of Goods analysis to monthly bookkeeping, all income tax returns, payroll and much more.
How has cannabis influenced your life?
Cannabis has influenced my life greatly, but especially in the last few years it really has made a huge difference. Not only have I met some of the best people in my life because of this plant, but the health benefits have been very positive as well. Cannabis has helped me relieve a bunch of my anxiety and depression I used to have from working so much.
It wasn’t until I discovered CBD though that everything changed. I don’t drink alcohol anymore, so CBD works very well for me. It not only relieves almost 100% of my inflammation, but it pretty much got rid of my sleep apnea issues that was not allowing me to sleep for almost three years. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t say how grateful I am for CBD.
So many people in my life use it for so many reasons…….I feel like I wake up feeling more energized when I take it constantly. After living in Denver and seeing the amazing things that legalization was doing for that state, I really started to pay more attention once I finally moved back to California. I would not be the person that I am today if it weren’t for this amazing plant!
What have been your biggest hurdles operating in the cannabis industry so far?
Since Legalization in California is still fairly new, what I have seen so far is a number of companies not being able to get their permits for one reason or another. This, along with the fact that there are hardly any banks in California that will work with a cannabis company, has created more challenges for those trying to deal with their finances. I know people are working on solutions to this problem, but it has created a lot of confusion and stress in the meantime.
How have you been able to overcome these challenges?
There are definitely a lot of things that are up and coming in the cannabis industry specifically pertaining to money and how it is handled. Anyone that is working with accounting or taxes needs to follow what guidelines are already out there until the State makes new rules. There is talk about a centralized bank just for Cannabis business, so that would make this industry grow even more in my opinion if the States allowed that to happen.
Name the top 3 skills every cannabis entrepreneur needs
2. Positive Attitude
What is the best advice you've received recently?
To take care of myself first. This isn't easy for any entrepreneur. We always put everyone else first, but the reality is that my clients really need a healthy, happy me, so focusing on myself has been really beneficial and amazing lately.
Any tips for maintaining a work/life balance?
Don't take on too much at once. I had many years of horrible stress and ulcers, so I know how brutal working yourself to death can be. It's not worth it. Take time for yourself no matter what. I know a lot of people that benefit from meditation, and I have been trying to do that myself, so taking only five minuets out of your day can really make a difference.
What are your favorite resources/tools for your business and why?
My business is home based, so I really rely on the internet for most things. The world of taxes is always changing, so keeping up with that has been a lot of work, so I definitely feel blessed to have older, more experienced people to talk to if I need help.
If you could offer an aspiring cannabis entrepreneur one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. There are so many negative stigmas towards people who consume cannabis, that I was afraid myself as to what people would think about my business. I had to let that go and stay true to who I am and what I believe in......and was it worth it? 100%!!!!!